Help support TMP


"Napoleon Lithuanian Forces" Topic


1 Post

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.


Back to the Napoleonic Discussion Message Board



322 hits since 31 Mar 2017
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Tango0131 Mar 2017 10:14 p.m. PST

"Review any history of the Lithuanian nation written in English and you will only find a brief reference to the existence of the Napoleonic Lithuanian. One of the major reasons for this obvious oversight is the fact that the majority of the Lithuanian leaders of the time had been Polonized and subscribed to the phrase "Gente Lituani, natione Poloni". They took pride in their Lithuanian heritage, but accepted the proposition that Lithuania had become a province in the State of Poland.

In 1772, Russia, Prussia, and Austria militarily forced the dismemberment of the Commonwealth with Lithuania losing large parts of its Latvian, Ukrainian, and Belorussian lands. The second partition of 1793 resulted in even greater loss of territory and brought the Russian Empire to the doorstep of ethnic Lithuania. A futile attempt to save the Commonwealth was lead by Lithuanian General Thaddeus Kosciuszko, but his forces were suppressed by overwhelming strength after an eight months long struggle. The third partition of 1795 wiped Lithuania and Poland off the map of Europe as a sovereign nation.1

Hopes for the liberation of Lithuania and Poland now were tied to the emergence of France as a military power under Napoleon Bonaparte. Thousands of Lithuanians and Poles fled to France which had been almost the only nation to object to the partition and destruction of the Commonwealth. This ready supply of trained military exiles was a welcome source of manpower to the French army. Napoleon quickly realized the potential they offered and in 1797 assisted in the formation of Poles and Lithuanians into the Polish Legion Auxiliary to the Republic of Lombardy during the Italian Campaign. The Polish Legion commanded by General Jan Dombrowski gradually expanded and was eventually assimilated into the regular French army as the Vistula Legion and the Vistula Lancers.

Though no figures exist of the number of Lithuanians that served Napoleon during his eighteen year reign the figure was quite large. It is documented that twelve thousand Lithuanians and Wolhynians alone answered Napoleon's September, 1806, call for volunteers. The major reason why Lithuania's contribution to Napoleon can only be estimated is the fact that Lithuanians and Poles were assigned to the same units without designation…"
Main page
link


Amicalement
Armand

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.